Against Productivity – The Message – Medium


196 bookmarks. First posted by audrey november 2014.


This lovely & wise piece from reminds me of Mary Ruefle’s wasting time:
from twitter_favs
yesterday by jenlowe
"Here is what really happened in Puerto Rico four years ago: I fell into a funk, beat myself up a bit, and spent the rest of the time wandering around (mostly to the same places) and daydreaming. I wrote a few strange blog posts which no one read. I went a bit further into credit card debt. My days themselves were pretty quiet. I began to really think hard about what the internet does to society by just being the internet. I wrote out some of what I’d seen, and replayed them in my mind while I wandered around the beach. I made a video about being a robot in a Japanese blues bar asking if anyone could really see a singularity from inside of it. I tried to imagine 2010 me without the net. I tried to imagine 1989 me with the net. I talked about how the internet does and doesn’t change things in a place like PR. I read about Rwanda, and about the trade union history of PR and read and talked more about the history of coffee. Puerto Ricans are big on coffee. And then I left. I don’t remember where I went next.

But it all means something else now. When I look back on not only the wasted time in PR, but the couple of unproductive years around it I see it differently now. When I wasn’t beating myself up for not being productive enough, I was thinking about and interacting with the world. I was laying the first stones of a new foundation, a new way of thinking about networked culture, and even about our place on this planet. Instead of getting things done I was learning, smiling at people I didn’t share a language with, and cross-connecting the notions of my brain and the experiences of my life. It all lay fallow in me for a long time, as notes on my blog, snatches of poems, story bits to never be written. The pieces of this change were pieces of lyrics I wasted time writing on post-it notes I promptly lost, and articles I read instead of working and bits of conversation and pop songs that clung like ribbons and buttons and bits of flowers stuck all over my psyche.

My wasteful and unproductive time was the only time I asked: What should I be doing? What is a worthwhile life? And so it followed that was the only time when I could start to answer those questions. What is good work? Is any of this worth it? What makes life worth living? What good can I do in this world?

What is this world anyway?

I am only now beginning to harvest what was sown in that wasted and unproductive time. But now there are so many threads and ideas from that time, I can’t possibly follow them all. I see the world differently now. I like it more, and I see, just a tiny bit better, how it fits together.

Wisdom takes time. It takes staring out into the rain, It takes service to others. It takes getting nothing done to make us human again. To see the connections between things requires studying the blank spaces between them, days that slip into boredom and loneliness with only a person and their senses and their imagination to keep them company. I can now see that much of what I’ve written in the past year started in 2010, in Puerto Rico. I can see how the time around it allowed me to work the stories of 2011 and 2012 with an insight and understanding that I couldn’t have gotten without the failures to produce that shaped my 2009 and 2010. I can now see that my productive work — at least the good stuff, comes from my unproductive time, from my empty yearning to understand the world.

In many ways foolishness isn’t the opposite of wisdom, but its absence. Productivity is the opposite of wisdom. Humanity is a creature of time and imagination. From these things our fruits are born more than manufactured. Productivity is a quality of perfect robots. Stories, adventures and all new things still have to come from messy humans.

We should spend more time wasting time. We all need to be bored more. We all need to spend more time looking quizzically at birds we don’t recognize. We all need a little more time to connect the dots and see if they matter. I don’t know how much more, but sometimes you have to do things without knowing how much you need.

As for me, I want to go back to Puerto Rico."
productivity  life  philosophy  quinnorton  2017  slow  slowness  writing  idleness  transcontextualism  internet  web  networkedculture  purpose 
2 days ago by robertogreco
Against Productivity This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
Instapaper  from instapaper
3 days ago by jt.http
Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a dream that had swept through American business culture, launched a billion dollar self-help industry, alienated my generation, and killed uncounted people through its wild pursuit. via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket 
9 days ago by christos
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
instapaper 
9 days ago by theluther
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
9 days ago by divigation
Against Productivity – The Message – Medium via Instapaper http://ift.tt/1xpPNfk
IFTTT  Instapaper 
9 days ago by craniac
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
10 days ago by adamayers
Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a dream that had swept through American business culture, launched a billion dollar self-help industry, alienated my generation, and killed uncounted people through its wild pursuit. via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket  1-process-productivity 
10 days ago by clayhebert
Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a dream that had swept through American business culture, launched a billion dollar self-help industry, alienated my generation, and killed uncounted people through its wild pursuit. via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket 
10 days ago by trisignia
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
10 days ago by mauty
Beautiful ode to meaning > productivity by @quinnnorton.
Unread  from pocket
10 days ago by hopeless
Beautiful ode to meaning > productivity by .
from twitter_favs
10 days ago by juancampa
Beautiful ode to meaning > productivity by .
from twitter_favs
10 days ago by ngpestelos
"Productivity never asks what it builds, just how much of it can be piled up before we leave or die." -
from twitter_favs
10 days ago by kadavy
In many ways foolishness isn’t the opposite of wisdom, but its absence. Productivity is the opposite of wisdom. Humanity is a creature of time and imagination. From these things our fruits are born more than manufactured. Productivity is a quality of perfect robots. Stories, adventures and all new things still have to come from messy humans.
We should spend more time wasting time. We all need to be bored more. We all need to spend more time looking quizzically at birds we don’t recognize. We all need a little more time to connect the dots and see if they matter. I don’t know how much more, but sometimes you have to do things without knowing how much you need.
culture  productivity 
10 days ago by leereamsnyder
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
10 days ago by sigul
Productivity is a quality of perfect robots. Stories, adventures and all new things still have to come from messy humans.
good  human 
11 days ago by nathanwentworth
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
11 days ago by albinadev
File under Innovation Requires Waste.

An essay about our culture of personal productivity.

This quote is close to expressing how I felt during my sabbatical.

I berated myself for being unproductive, for wasting this precious time I’d set aside to put my professional life together. I spent hours anxious to craft my time to be quantitatively better for writing. Then it all collapsed, and the only habit I fell into was depressive empty afternoons when I was alone with the cats and the rain. But I also, and wholly by accident, thought the thoughts that would take my career and life in a new and unimagined direction.

My wasteful and unproductive time was the only time I asked: What should I be doing? What is a worthwhile life? And so it followed that was the only time when I could start to answer those questions. What is good work? Is any of this worth it? What makes life worth living? What good can I do in this world?

In many ways foolishness isn’t the opposite of wisdom, but its absence. Productivity is the opposite of wisdom. Humanity is a creature of time and imagination. From these things our fruits are born more than manufactured. Productivity is a quality of perfect robots. Stories, adventures and all new things still have to come from messy humans.
productivity  philosophy  work  writing  creativity  innovation  culture 
11 days ago by jefframnani
My wasteful and unproductive time was the only time I asked: What should I be doing? What is a worthwhile life? And so it followed that was the only time when I could start to answer those questions. What is good work? Is any of this worth it? What makes life worth living? What good can I do in this world?
productivity  @instapaper 
13 days ago by lendamico
Against Productivity -
This Essay Took Four Years to Write
from twitter
13 days ago by dr_t
Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a dream that had swept through American business culture, launched a billion dollar self-help industry, alienated my generation, and killed uncounted people through its wild pursuit.
article 
13 days ago by mud
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
13 days ago by kslimbs
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
13 days ago by mattl
This Essay Took Four Years to Write Our house in Old San Juan Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a…
from instapaper
14 days ago by stoleaglance
Against Productivity
from instapaper
july 2015 by albertosesn
> We should spend more time wasting time. We all need to be bored more. We all need to spend more time looking quizzically at birds we don’t recognize. We all need a little more time to connect the dots and see if they matter. I don’t know how much more, but sometimes you have to do things without knowing how much you need.
productivity 
april 2015 by arnalyse
Against productivity: "We should spend more time wasting time. We all need to be bored more."
from twitter
march 2015 by singlecelled
This Essay Took Four Years to Write
january 2015 by jaredestern
This moment’s goal of productivity, with its all-consuming practice and unattainable horizon, is perfect for our current corporate world. Productivity never asks what it builds, just how much of it can be piled up before we leave or die. It is irrelevant to pleasure. It’s agnostic about the fate of humanity. It’s not even selfish, because production negates the self. Self can only be a denominator, holding up a dividing bar like a caryatid trying to hold up a stone roof.

I am sure this started with the Industrial Revolution, but what has swept through this generation is more recent. This idea of productivity started in the 1980s, with the lionizing of the hardworking greedy. There’s a critique of late capitalism to be had for sure, but what really devastated my generation was the spiritual malaise inherent in Taylorism’s perfectly mechanized human labor. But Taylor had never seen a robot or a computer perfect his methods of being human. By the 1980s, we had. In the age of robots we reinvented the idea of being robots ourselves. We wanted to program our minds and bodies and have them obey clocks and routines. In this age of the human robot, of the materialist mind, being efficient took the pre-eminent spot, beyond goodness or power or wisdom or even cruel greed.
Laar  Backdrop 
january 2015 by jim.grendel
“The Japanese have defined a form of death-from-productivity: karōshi” It's Pachinko and then death at the other end
from twitter
december 2014 by avocade
Quinn Norton: "There is more than one kind of thought. There are thoughts you cannot complete within a month, or a fiscal quarter, just as there are thoughts that can occupy less than a vacation period, a weekend, or a smoke break. Like the spectrum of photonic behavior, thoughts come in a nearly infinite range of lengths and frequencies, and always move at the exact pace of human life, wherever they are in the universe. Some thoughts are long, they can take years to think, or a lifetime. Some thoughts take many lifetimes, and we hand them off to the next generation like the batons in a relay race. Some of these are the best of thoughts, even if they can be the least productive. "
work  capitalism  culture 
december 2014 by jbushnell
Against Productivity
from twitter
december 2014 by tonb
“Despite having more labor-saving technology than anyone in history, we have made it so we have more to get done than any form of society before us.”

“There was a time when you could write a few poems, die of TB, and call it a life well lived. When one learned to wait for hard thoughts, when we took time to doubt, to question, to be unknowing in the face of a large question, when we had no lights at night and no smartphones and only our imagination to keep us company in the dark. We used to daydream about stars we could see because the nights weren’t obscured with light pollution. Then the questions got too big and scary. We got too good at math and engineering without really noticing that we weren’t actually good enough, and we don’t even know if good enough exists. We lost our useful doubts and forgot to ask why. It takes so long to ask these questions and maybe nothing at all will come of it. It’s a too-risky way to use your time these days. We lost the knack of dreaming of big futures.”
productivity  philosophy  criticism  society 
december 2014 by jeremybeasley
> My wasteful and unproductive time was the only time I asked: What should I be doing? What is a worthwhile life? And so it followed that was the only time when I could start to answer those questions. What is good work? Is any of this worth it? What makes life worth living? What good can I do in this world?
>
> What is this world anyway?
>
> I am only now beginning to harvest what was sown in that wasted and unproductive time. But now there are so many threads and ideas from that time, I can’t possibly follow them all. I see the world differently now. I like it more, and I see, just a tiny bit better, how it fits together.
productivity  life  self-improvement  en  from instapaper
december 2014 by cbucher1
Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a dream that had swept through American business culture,…
instapaper 
december 2014 by withoutnations
This Essay Took Four Years to Write
productivity  life  culture  politics 
december 2014 by timcowlishaw
Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a dream that had swept through American business culture,…
from instapaper
november 2014 by flobosg
Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a dream that had swept through American business culture,…
from instapaper
november 2014 by genehack
Quote: "We should spend more time wasting time. We all need to be bored more. We all need to spend more time looking quizzically at birds we don’t recognize. We all need a little more time to connect the dots and see if they matter. I don’t know how much more, but sometimes you have to do things without knowing how much you need."
productivity  work  life 
november 2014 by ajohnson1200
Four years ago I temporarily moved to Puerto Rico. I went to PR to seek the New American Dream, a dream that had swept through American business culture,…
from instapaper
november 2014 by tlwachob
Quinn Norton wrestles with our productivity culture: "It is a surrender to nothing, to a nothingness of lived accounting."
life  philosophy  productivity 
november 2014 by pb
Via me too! Article by really hit home "Against Productivity" cc
from twitter_favs
november 2014 by dermotcasey